Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a hormone that has many critical physiologic functions in the human body. It has been the hormone associated with being the “fountain of youth” and sought out to provide “anti-aging” effects. While it does reduce the physical signs and symptoms of aging, it also reduces the risk of developing the most common diseases associated with aging.
As we age, many of your key hormone levels decline, and you start seeing and feeling the effects of this. This can happen as early as your late twenties or early thirties. Lack of adequate Growth Hormone in adults can result in a whole slew of symptoms, not just physical, but mental and emotional as well.
Many of the common complaints are:
- Fatigue, lack of energy, lack of motivation
- Weight gain
- Declining results at the gym (despite eating “clean” and exercising regularly
- Decreased stamina, strength, or exercise tolerance
- Decreased muscle mass
- Emotional symptoms (moodiness, grumpiness, anxiety, depression)
- Thin/crepey/dry/sagging skin
- Loss of self-confidence
- Difficulty sleeping
- Decreased vitality
- Decreased sense of well being
- Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, memory issues
What Exactly is Human Growth Hormone and What Does It Do?
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates cell reproduction and cell regeneration and has been seriously studied since the 1950s.
In children, it is necessary for normal growth and development. In adults, HGH is necessary to maintain many important physiologic functions, including cardiovascular function, the proper amounts of body fat, muscle, and bone, as well as maintain cognitive function.
Human Growth Hormone deficiency in children results in short stature and delayed physical development as well as other metabolic conditions, such as diabetes.
In adults, inadequate HGH production is called Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency (AGHD). AGHD is recognized as a metabolic syndrome. Some of its resulting problems are an unhealthy body composition and cholesterol profile, as well as decreased exercise capacity.
This results in an increase in the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease. Low bone density and decreased muscle strength are also seen in AGHD. This can result in osteoporosis and frailty. The Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism notes that when combined with lifestyle modifications, Growth Hormone replacement reduces weight and fat mass while preserving lean body mass.
There are several studies that have shown Human Growth Hormone plays a crucial role in a person’s mental and emotional well being. Adults with AGHD have higher rates of depression and treatment of this deficiency results in an improved energy level, sense of well being, vitality, and quality of life.
How Do I Know If I Have a Deficiency in Human Growth Hormone?
Human Growth Hormone can’t be measured directly, but when secreted, HGH travels through the blood to the liver where it is converted to its active form, a protein called IGF-1. IGF-1 can be measured and is a reliable marker of how much HGH our body is secreting. HGH deficiency can also be recognized as a subset of symptoms like those mentioned earlier.
Your numbers may be considered “normal” according to your local lab, but they may not be “optimal.” Optimal is when you feel and function the best. It’s important to see an Age Management and Hormonal Optimization physician to look at both of these markers (numbers and symptoms) together to see if replacement would be beneficial for you.
How Do I Raise My Human Growth Hormone Levels?
1. SLEEP. Nearly fifty percent of HGH secretion occurs during the third and fourth REM sleep stages. Sleep deprivation and not reaching these deeper levels of sleep suppresses HGH release.
2. GET MOVING. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT training) is a natural physiological stimulator of HGH release. Incorporating this into your exercise routine will help boost your levels naturally.
3. NUTRITION. Proper nutrition not only enhances your natural HGH production, but it also promotes a healthier metabolic profile. Protein (especially animal-derived protein) provides important essential amino acids known to increase natural Growth Hormone secretion. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates (white rice, white bread, sugary cereal, cookies, soda, potato chips), as these spike insulin levels, which results in decreasing your body’s ability to use HGH.
Proper TIMING of eating plays a key role in optimizing HGH levels. Avoid eating two hours before going to bed, as this will cause an untimely insulin spike during the time HGH should be maximally secreted. Instead of the traditional three meals a day, eat smaller meals throughout the day (approximately every three hours) to avoid insulin spikes. Avoid high sugar foods and drinks after exercise because it will interfere with the natural release on HGH that exercise causes.
4. SUPPLEMENTATION. Nutritional supplements such as Glycine (500 mg nightly), L-Arginine (2 grams three times a day), Glutamine (2,000 mg a day), Vitamin D3 (5,000 IU a day), Niacin (1,500-3,000 mg a day) have all shown to raise Human Growth Hormone levels. However, you cannot achieve optimal levels with these alone.
5. MEDICATIONS. The surest way to increase the amount of HGH in your body is by having a physician prescribe HGH and monitor your progress. There are a couple of different classes of medications that do this:
A. HGH can be administered directly, with a nightly injection just under the skin using a tiny needle.
B. Secretagogues/Growth Hormone Analogs are medications that stimulate your body’s own production of HGH and are also administered with a nightly injection.
If you think you would benefit from HGH or suspect a deficiency, get an evaluation with a physician who specializes in Age Management & Hormone Optimization. It can make a profound difference in your quality of life and help you regain your vitality and retain your youthfulness.
If you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.